UA Board of Regents review tuition, budget plans

by Michelle Saport  |   

The University of Alaska has proposed a $6 per credit tuition increase for undergraduate courses starting with the 2014-2015 academic year. The matter will come to the board for a vote on Nov. 6.

The UA's Board of Regents briefly reviewed the proposal at its regular meeting on the University of Alaska Southeast campus Thursday and Friday. The proposal, by UA President Pat Gamble, also includes a $12 per credit increase for graduate programs. The non-resident surcharge for both graduate and undergraduate programs would increase by $12 per credit.

A resident undergraduate student taking 15 credits a semester would pay an additional $90 over the current charge, an additional $180 per year, if the board endorses the increase at its next meeting Nov. 6 in Anchorage.

The board also agreed unanimously that approval of a proposal by the University of Alaska Fairbanks' School of Management for a 25 percent differential tuition, which upper-level undergraduate and graduate students would pay over the course of two years, is a decision that should be made by UA President Pat Gamble as a surcharge, which is allowed under board policy. Gamble said he'd make a decision as soon as possible.

Five UAF management students spoke in favor of the surcharge at last week's meeting. Student Lyssa Kemper noted the school's accreditation, its success placing students in meaningful internships and solid reputation in helping students find jobs post-graduation. "In order for students to stay competitive in the job market, we need a school that is top of the line," Kemper said.

Gamble said he'd work on a policy, criteria and process for future tuition differential proposals that would come before the board.

Meanwhile, board members had their first look at a draft budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014. The budget request will change, as there are several unknowns, including the results of union contracts still under negotiation. Under the draft budget, the state appropriation would be roughly $383 million. That number will change as tentative agreements are reached with collective bargaining units.

The proposed capital budget would be $124 million in state appropriations, but doesn't include, at this stage, the $245 million heat and power plant at UAF, a critical need. UAF is looking at different funding options to replace the aging plant.

The board will vote on the budget request Nov. 6. The request then will go to Gov. Sean Parnell for consideration and ultimately the Alaska State Legislature.

A number of action items were also on the agenda. Approvals included:

  • An associate of applied science degree for physical therapy assistant at the University of Alaska Anchorage;
  • An associate of science degree at UAS;
  • A $10 million debt issue for UAF for partial funding of the engineering building, currently under construction;
  • The UAA campus master plan;
  • An amendment to the UAF campus master plan to allow a solar array installation and subsequent request-for-proposals process for the project;
  • Schematic design for the UAF animal quarters facility relocation; and
  • A one-year agreement between UA and the 10-member Fairbanks Fire Fighters Union at UAF.

Board members also attended a reception at the UAS Technical Education Center, where they toured the facility, met members of the UAS chancellor's advisory committee and had the opportunity to test out an underground mine training simulator.

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